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Whistles close to refinancing deal

Whistles was understood to be on the brink of completing a refinancing deal, as Drapers went to press.

Whistles shareholders were expected to inject further funds into the business as part of a restructuring of ownership and to ease pressure on the chain’s working capital facilities.

The contemporary womenswear retailer was hit by the collapse of the Icelandic banking system last month. Glitnir, one of the Icelandic banks that went into receivership last month, owns 16.2% of Whistles while Icelandic investment firm Baugur owns 49.5% of the chain.

Whistles was further hit by the withdrawal of credit insurance for its suppliers because of its Icelandic links.

Chief executive Jane Shepherdson confirmed to Drapers that she was finalising a rescue package but would not comment further.

Separately, earlier this week Shepherdson unveiled her second collection for Whistles. The spring 09 range, which will hit stores in February, is pitched at a younger customer than the autumn range and features relaxed tailoring and bold prints.

Shepherdson told Drapers: “The collection has evolved as we continue to define our identity. There is a more relaxed feel, which reflects our attitude to the way we are dressing now, but the distinctive prints will be a regular feature of all our collections.”

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